Drug Use and COVID-19 in Prisons: First Clinic Dedicated to the Treatment of People Living in Prisons with Opioid Use Disorders in Kenya

Mombasa County Chief Officer for Health, Coast Prison Commander and partners from the Civil Society Organizations before the start of operationalization of the Shimo La Tewa clinic in Mombasa

In 2018, Mombasa planned to set up a methadone programme for heroin injecting drug users living in prisons. As a follow up, UNODC worked together with the County of Mombasa and the Kenya Prison Service in 2019, to support and expand Medically Assisted Therapy (MAT) service provision to the prison population. 

Understanding that people in prison settings who use MAT services in the public-dedicated clinic could be unnecessarily put at risk of infection, and in the context of the COVID-19 mitigation and prevention measures implemented country-wise, UNODC collaborated with the Kenya Prison Service (KPS) and the Mombasa County Health Authorities and swiftly took measures to minimize interaction between prisoners and the general public, including restricted visits for inmates. Given the importance of the matter, County and National stakeholders, including the National HIV&AIDS Control Programme (NASCOP), the County Government, KPS and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have contributed to the rapid opening of a new prison dedicated clinic. 

The Shimo La Tewa Prison MAT Clinic becomes the first clinics dedicated to the treatment of prisoners who are affected by opioid use disorders in Kenya but also becomes one of the very few countries in Africa to offer comprehensive, dedicated and tailored HIV prevention and drug treatment services in prison settings. 

Partner Organisation